Pandor counts on maths fundi Loyiso Nongxa to stabilise UFH


Higher education and training minister Dr Naledi Pandor has pinned her hopes on renowned Eastern Cape-born maths fundi Professor Loyiso Nongxa to stabilise the University of Fort Hare.
Following media reports that exposed the instability of the university’s council, Pandor on Friday announced that Nongxa had been appointed as an administrator, after she dissolved the council.
This is while university vice-chancellor Professor Sakhela Buhlungu remains in office.
On Friday, the Dispatch reported on a push by some council members to suspend Buhlungu. The members cited a number of allegations of misconduct contained in an audit risk committee report made against Buhlungu to motivate his suspension.
However, such a move was deemed invalid by the university, which countered that the members did not have the quorum to vote on such a decision. According to the university, there are 26 voting members in council and only nine members voted on the decision.
In an internal memo sent to staff and students after the announcement by the minister, Buhlungu said management welcomed Nongxa’s appointment. “We look forward to working with him to steer this treasured institution to safe water,” he said.
Nongxa could not be contacted for comment by print deadline on Sunday.
On Friday, Pandor said she was grateful that Nongxa had agreed to take up the reins and stabilise Fort Hare.
“I am confident that he will carry out the task assigned to him with the utmost integrity and commitment.
“I hope he will receive the unqualified support of all members of the University of Fort Hare community, and be given the space to undertake this important responsibility, which will be to restore the effective governance of the institution,” Pandor said.
Nongxa will be in charge of the university for the next 12 months, even while Buhlungu remains in office.
Born in Indwe, Nongxa, 65, is both an alumnus and a former lecturer of the university that has been placed in his trust.
After matriculating from Healdtown College in 1972, Nongxa was accepted at Fort Hare where he earned a bachelor of science honours in 1976 and then a Master’s degree in 1978.
In 1982, he obtained his philosophy doctorate from Oxford University in England.
Nongxa has lectured mathematics at a number of universities including Fort Hare, the National University of Lesotho, the University of Natal and the University of the Western Cape (UWC).
At UWC, he was appointed as a maths professor and later appointed as the dean of the faculty of natural sciences.
Nongxa currently chairs the National Research Foundation.
In 2018, he was elected vice-president of the International Mathematical Union – a prestigious achievement ...

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